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Opinion 5 min read 1 Comment

The Huawei P9: still a good choice?

More than a year and a half has passed since the launch of the Huawei P9. A smartphone that has immediately attracted everyone's attention thanks to its double rear camera, nowadays almost taken for granted. With things as they are now, is the Huawei P9 still worth thinking about?

The Huawei P9 vs the latest flagship

An eternity seems to have passed since the release of the Huawei P9. Now almost all of the flagships, and even some mid-range devices, host a double camera on the body and a slim metallic unibody like the P9. In April 2016, however, the P9 really did make an impression at the London presentation. And whoever possessed one of them (including me) knows well that the P9 proved to be a good companion for life's adventures. 

Modern flagships have better hardware, as is normal. They incorporate more advanced processors, nearly bezel-less displays and rely on facial recognition or iris scanning. Some have adopted glass housing, abandoning all or part of the aluminium. These most obvious advances, at least. The P9 doesn't have them, so if you want an inexpensive flagship equipped with the latest technology, look elsewhere. 

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Forget the glass and FullView displays of the latest 2017 flagships. / © AndroidPIT

At the moment, the best equipped and cheapest top of the range are the OnePlus 5T and the Honor View 10, which is not yet available on the market. You will have to wait until the beginning of the new year but while you can get an idea of the new Honor device in our hands-on test.

Some of the flagships presented in the first half of 2017, including Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are now more affordable than at launch but still higher than the price of a P9.

Performance still valid

The Huawei P9 integrates a Kirin 955 processor supported by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable internal memory via microSD. Those aren't amazing numbers in 2017, but they are enough to guarantee good performance. The system runs smoothly with Nougat and, with a microSD card, you can also expand the internal memory.

No promise on the arrival of Oreo: if you don't want to forgo the latest Android version, forget the P9. If Nougat is more than enough for you, know that in everyday use the P9 will be a reliable companion. And it's thanks to Nougat and EMUI 5.0 that you'll be able to take advantage of functions such as Twin apps, for example, to use two Facebook and WhatsApp accounts at the same time, Phone Clone or Quik, to create videos from your photos.

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No Oreo! / © AndroidPIT

A standard battery

If it's the battery that worries you, know that the P9 can reach the end of the day. 3000 mAh doesn't leave you breathless but it's solid and the device just takes two hours to fully charge. In any case, the P10 battery does not do any better.

Features not found on the P10

If you have already owned a Huawei/Honor device or have read some of our reviews, you will not be surprised to know that the fingerprint sensors used by the Chinese manufacturer are fast and accurate. As well as quick and easy to set up.

The P9, however, unlike the P10, mounts the reader on the body that allows you to take advantage of some useful commands through gestures. By tapping on Settings>Imprint ID you can set it to take pictures (perfect for selfies) and videos, answer incoming calls, lock the alarm clock, view and delete notifications or browse through photos in the Gallery. A number of these functions were lost with the P10, unfortunately.

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The fingerprint reader on the body offers some interesting functions. / © AndroidPIT

The price

It is possible to buy the Huawei P9 online for about $350 at the moment, though prices are varied. For US buyers this means an international model from retailers like Amazon or eBay, usually without warranty. For rougly $100 more you can buy the successor with Kirin 960,4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable internal memory. More memory available and native Nougat therefore, with the certainty of receiving the update to Oreo.

Huawei P9: to buy or not to buy?

As usual, everything depends on your needs, on what you are looking for. The Huawei P9 is still a good smartphone with a good camera, Instagram-style filters to apply, manual mode, bokeh effect available. Normal battery, good performance, pleasant design. Not updated to the latest Android version but manages to handle daily tasks without problems. Compared to the last flagships, it has lower specs but also costs less.

If you have one in your pocket, I would still hold on to it for a while. I would wait until the beginning of 2018 and MWC to see the latest innovations in the mobile field and buy one of the current flagships at an even cheaper price, for example.

If you're thinking to buy a new Huawei P9, it'll do the job but you mind find yourself wishing you had more patience when the post-MWC discounts come around. Competition is tough and older flagships do not have easy life in 2017.

What do you think? Would you buy the Huawei P9? 

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